Rotary: Making Things Happen

Navajo Project

Nancy Scheinman is a tiny person in stature but has a heart that has no fear of a giant project. In 2020 Covid was spreading throughout the U.S. and one out of every 500 who were infected were dying. However, one in every 240 were dying on Indian Reservations. This death rate was exacerbated by the multi-generational living conditions, remoteness, and the poor health of many Native Americans living on reservations due to diabetes, substance abuse, depression, and the high incidence of domestic abuse. These experiences also have a profound impact on family life as they cause delays in a child’s social, emotional, mental, and behavioral development.

Help comes in many ways, but in this instance, it started with a conversation. Dr. Jane Halpern, retired Director of the Towson University Health Clinic, shared her experience of volunteering with her friend, artist Nancy Scheinman. Dr. Halpern informed Nancy of the Navajo people’s need for a mobile health clinic.

Nancy was a member of the Towsontowne Rotary Club at the time. Several years previously, she helped to install the Navajo’s Origin Story at the Alamo Reservation in Socorro County, N.M. to enhance the learning environment of their school. Nancy understood life on the reservation.

Dr. Halpern told her to contact Dr. Alison Barllow, Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health. The Indigenous Health Division of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health serves over 120 indigenous tribes in the U.S. and works with indigenous people across the Globe in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Dr. Barllow responded to Nancy’s offer to help by informing her that Johns Hopkins provides the ongoing financial support needed to deliver health and mental health services. She also informed her that her staff are involved in training reservation dwellers how to assist their community in coping with the problems they experience in daily life.

These services make a significant difference, as demonstrated by the repeated clinical studies that the University carries out to evaluate its work. However, given the realities of reservation life, vehicles and iPads are needed to create a mobile clinic to deliver these health services to those who live in the remote areas of the reservation and lack transportation to come to their Clinic.

Nancy’s next stop was to consult with Mahmood Farazdaghi, Towsontowne’s International Services Chair. Together they received approval from the Club’s Board of Directors to provide $15,000 to kick off the fund-raising effort and garnered matching funds from the Rotary Clubs of Socorro, Santa Fe Centro, Goodyear Pebble Creek, Roseville – Alexandria and Bombay North. The result was the presentation of a check for $30,608 toward the purchase of a Subaru RAV4 to assist with the initiation of a mobile Clinic. Johns Hopkins provided the difference needed to pay for the vehicle and the iPads.

Nancy’s next stop was to consult with Mahmood Farazdaghi, Towsontowne’s International Services Chair. Together they received approval from the Club’s Board of Directors to provide $15,000 to kick off the fund-raising effort and garnered matching funds from the Rotary Clubs of Socorro, Santa Fe Centro, Goodyear Pebble Creek, Roseville – Alexandria and Bombay North. The result was the presentation of a check for $30,608 toward the purchase of a Subaru RAV4 to assist with the initiation of a mobile Clinic. Johns Hopkins provided the difference needed to pay for the vehicle and the iPads.

When it comes to this project Lin Manuel Miranda sums it up best. If you want something done you need to be in that Room Where It Happens:
“… (with the ones who know) how the game is played,
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made …
(In) the room where it happens …”

And in that “room” you usually find members of Rotary. This time it was an artist, an expert at establishing eye-clinics in different parts of the world, Mahmood Farazdaghi, along with Johns Hopkins University’s Director of its Center for Indigenous Health, Alison Barlow. Everyone in that room understood that perfection is always the enemy of progress. They also knew that they might not be able to completely solve the problem at the reservation, but they could all do something that could move the problem closer to being solved by partnering with one another. Just another example of how Rotary plays a key role in making things happen!

Left to right Johns Hopkins University Indigenous Health Center Leadership and Towsontowne-Hunt Valley Rotarians

Dr. Allison Barlow – Executive Director, Rob Ketron – Past District Rotary Governor, Dr. Donald Warne – Co Director, Mahmood Farazdaghi – Rotarian, Dr. Melissa Walls – Co Director, Dr. Matharam Santosham -Director Emeritus, Dr. Andrew Ross, Rotarian, Sameera Farazdaghi – Volunteer, Ann Marie Ketron -Rotarian

Mobile Clinic to Assist Native Americans

Even the Longest Roads come to an End!



© All rights reserved. Powered by YOOtheme.
Back to Top